Russian and Bulgarian premiers meet in Moscow

A declaration on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation between Russia and Bulgaria has been signed by two prime ministers Mikhail Kasyanov and Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha following their talks in Moscow.

In addition, a protocol on cooperation between the Russian and Bulgarian culture ministries was signed for 2002-2004.

The Russian premier said that today's negotiations can be viewed as an instance of two countries turning towards each other, as their desire to cooperate again, "as befits neighbouring sister nations." In Kasyanov's view, the deck is practically clear now in bilateral relations and foundations exist for progressive cooperation based on the complementary nature of the two economies, on the policy of pragmatism, and on historical and cultural values of the Russian and Bulgarian peoples.

Such impressive advance in bilateral relations, the premier believes, is due above all to "political awareness" of the two governments "of the vital need to cooperate". Kasyanov believes that both Russia and Bulgaria have all advantages and wish among not only economic entities but also the peoples to communicate and cooperate.

He confirmed the readiness and desire of the Russian side to work towards eliminating disbalances in trade turnover between the two countries. To date Russia has a substantial export surplus. In this connection Kasyanov recalled that Russia has adopted a special regime for trade with Bulgaria and current import customs tariffs on Bulgarian goods on the Russian border are 25 per cent lower than on goods from other countries.

The Bulgarian premier in his turn also pointed to the "constructive, objective and pragmatic" negotiations held. He is confident that following his present visit to Moscow Russia and Bulgaria will be able to speak of a new policy in bilateral relations.

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